Viza Noir: No Record (Flameshovel)

The pace appears relentless and offers little respite from the quick, driving sounds.

The Chicago-based threesome Viza Noir recalls some of the premier elements of such classic bands as Wire and Mission of Burma while clanging through several raucous guitar melodies. Their first full-length album, No Record, begins furiously with the strong hooks of “Run for Mayor.” The title track follows and keeps the momentum going in the right direction. Sporting a powerful chorus and pounding drums from Joe Kaplan, it reveals considerable possibilities for the remainder of the record. The pace appears relentless and offers little respite from the quick, driving sounds.

Unfortunately, a complete listen shows Viza Noir covering too much similar ground and not offering enough diversity. The musicianship from bassist Mike O’Connell and guitarist Dan MacAdam is top-notch, but the songs fail to distinguish themselves enough to really provide a unique experience. Several instrumentals appear on the record, including the tight chords of “You’re Going to Break That Chair, Tom,” but everything just seems too familiar. The refreshing shifts in pace of “She’s a Machine” do recall the power of Shellac at its best.

Viza Noir’s press material claims that they ignore the typical rules, but they still seem too tied down by a common form. Their live shows would definitely be kinetic, rocking affairs, but they haven’t totally found a way to translate the energy into the studio. A few more creative leaps would almost assuredly take this solid band to the next level.

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